It seems that prostitutes and pasta are as closely linked as literacy and Alphabetti….



I was saddened to find that the origin of salsa puttanesca has nothing to do with an exhausted courtesan, yearning for some stimulation after a long night of simulation, having a eureka moment as she looked into a store cupboard not quite as bare as herself. To my mind, the tangled array of pasta is reminiscent of tousled hair, smudged make up and an unmade bed. Pasta Rorschach is a new dish which I created between exhausting bouts of watching rugby on television.comp

I remember the prison scene in “Goodfellas” when Paul Cicero* chooses a razor blade as the ideal tool to reduce a fat clove of garlic to meltingly thin slivers. As razor blades are becoming as common as dodos I had to make do with I.O.Shen’s finest steel to produce the Soprano slice. These ivory slices are melted with anchovy fillets in warm olive oil that has been spiked with crushed birds’ eye chilies. There is no rush in Rorschach…everything happens slowly. A skinned, roasted red pepper is chopped and added to the pan and the heat is reduced as low as possible. The softened ingredients take on deep colour but, like the careful sunbather, nothing burns. The colour, perfume and the seductive appearance create impure thoughts which would be wasted if resisted. This is a lascivious, bawdy dish that I will make again and again…..or maybe just once, tonight.

*ERRATUM: I originally wrote that it was Tony Soprano slicing garlic….feet of clay…


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, anchovies, chillies, Cooking, Digital photography, Excellence, Fish, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, Italian food, Olive oil, pasta, peppers, Photography, photography course, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to It seems that prostitutes and pasta are as closely linked as literacy and Alphabetti….

  1. Love puttanesca. I always thought it was a little trick that Neopolitan prostitutes whipped up between tricks.

  2. That pasta is beggin’ to be loved.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    Damn, you’ve ruined all my illusions about eating out with Italian hookers 😉

  4. Sally says:

    You’ve seduced me 🙂

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  6. exhausted courtesan, exhausted spectators, exhausted cupboards… you’ve had quite the work out! That should keep you as fit as a fiddle.

  7. Oh, beautiful. I so want to eat this.

  8. I have to start paying more attention to composition. Your pictures always look like someone is eating the food. I need a class!!!! God knows when I’ll get time.

  9. Rosa de los Vientos says:

    “The colour, perfume and the seductive appearance create impure thoughts which would be wasted if resisted.” I love this sentence. A little ivory poem.
    However, crushed birds’ eye chilies, sounds so terribly cruel.

  10. Thinking lustful thoughts about pasta….

  11. Karen says:

    Putanesca is one of my favorite pastas. I will have to try adding roasted peppers they next time I make it.

  12. Eha says:

    I read a lot of ‘foodie’ recipes ~ you take the writing of those to new heights for sure! And it should be fun, Milord!! Puttanesca: have loved it forever it seems 🙂

  13. Vicki says:

    Sounds delicious, but not sure I could get those fine slivers without cutting my finger. I’ve lost the tips of two fingers to a new(isn) knife and I’m paranoid about losing more on my mandolin (after I saw a work colleague loose a big slice of her finger).

    I love roasted red peppers.

  14. Very nice my friend. Pasta Rorschach it is!

  15. I am allergic to garlic and I am no fan of anchovies, but still, the magic of your words seduces me into temptation for this “lascivious, bawdy dish”

  16. EllaDee says:

    I’ll never look at a plate of spaghetti the same way again.

  17. catterel says:

    Maybe I need another coffee to get my brain going – this spooks and sounds irresistible, but why Rorschach? The town or the blots?

  18. I do remember the “razor blade garlic cutting scene” from the Sopranos which is also one of the best food scenes in the movie “Goodfellas”…if you have not seen this movie check it out for a fantastic cooking in a prison cell scene! Your pasta is so beautiful, prostitutes or not!

  19. Rachel says:

    You crack me up… and I do love your photos…

  20. Hello! Just letting you know we’ve nominated you for the versatile blogger award. As always, acceptance is purely optional, so if you’re interest then please visit my post here

  21. ChgoJohn says:

    Pasta puttanesca is such a great dish, Roger. The aroma of anchovies and garlic, sautéing in olive oil, is as appealing as any kitchen scent can be. Never used a red pepper in mine and will have to give it a try.

  22. Love puttanesca and your associations thereof 🙂

  23. Just beautiful. This is my perfect pasta. I love your blog and look forward to reading more in the future. Please check out Stunning photography. Emma xx

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